April 26, 2011

Cooking with Quinoa

Tonight I tried a new ingredient: Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). Michael's mom has been cooking with it lately and sent us some home. So I made up a recipe! Quinoa is a grain that is basically a substitute for rice or couscous. But it is gluten free, vegetarian friendly, and full of protein! It doesn't have a ton of flavor, so you can add it to a recipe simply to give it some substance and protein if you don't want to cook meat.

Here is what I made today:

I started out with 2 chicken breasts (halved) I had already marinated in Italian dressing. If you have never done this, it is amazing all by itself and it cooks very moistly in the oven. I poured half a can of diced tomatoes in the bottom of a small casserole, placed the marinated chicken on top, and then poured the rest of the can over it. I then went searching for more veggies and found half a green pepper - cut that up and mixed it in with the chicken and tomatoes. I baked it at 400 for about 30 minutes, maybe more, until the chicken was cooked through. While that was baking, I cooked the quinoa as directed on the package. (Boil 2 cups of water with salt, add 1 cup quinoa, cook for about 15 min covered until you start seeing little curly-Qs pop up around the grains.)

After pulling the chicken out of the oven, I poured quinoa on a dinner plate, topped with half a chicken breast and some extra tomatoes, green peppers, and sauce. And it was yummy! Michael and I both agreed that since the quinoa is so plain, it might be fun to experiment by baking it with all the flavorful stuff in it. I also want to try an all veggie + quinoa recipe at some point. I suggest you try it, and let me know if you like it!

Chicken & Veggies with Quinoa
2 chicken breasts, halved
1/2 - 1 cup Italian dressing
1 can diced tomatoes (or 1-2 fresh tomatoes)
1/2 green pepper
1 cup quinoa
1 tsp. salt

Marinate chicken overnight or at least for 30 minutes in Italian dressing. Mix in casserole with diced tomatoes and green pepper, diced or cut into strips. Bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes. Cook quinoa as directed with salt and serve topped with the cooked chicken and veggies.


  1. oh my gosh! my mom made this for our easter dinner and today her "health tip of the day" email was about quinoa! i guess it's suddenly popular. we just ate it as a side and it was pretty good, but i would like to make it with some vegetables mixed in.

  2. i tried quinoa for the first time this past weekend too! i've had some sitting in my cabinet for like 2 months but have been intimidated to try something. but i really liked it and i love how healthy it is!

  3. I love quinoa! It's also great sauteed with garlic, chilled, and mixed in a salad with cuccumber & tomato.


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